Quad safety process hobbled
Industry reps have resigned from a quad bike safety advisory committee.
A body representing quad bike manufacturers - the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) - was appointed to a technical reference group to advise the Federal Government on ways to introduce a quad bike safety rating system.
The FCAI chose US expert Scott Kebschull to be on the panel too.
They have now both resigned in protest after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) proposed changes including a star-rating system, crush protection devices and mandatory minimum performance standards.
“The deck was stacked, and not in our favour,” Mr Kebschull told the ABC.
“The ACCC has reached a conclusion in advance, they've made up their minds and are not open to considering other points of view.”
The FCAI said the ACCC is “experimenting with the public”, and that its proposals could do more harm than good.
It criticised the ACCC for basing its safety star-rating system for quad bikes on work by researchers at the University of New South Wales' Transport And Road Safety Unit (TARS), which the ACCC commissioned.
“It seems to be a conflict of interest for a government agency to fund a third party to perform a task, then be the adjudicator of the quality and suitability of that work,” the FCAI said in a response to the regulator’s impact statement.
“The FCAI believes that [Assistant Treasurer] Minister Michael Sukkar, whose responsibility it will be to review the regulation impact statement, may be misled.”
The researcher behind the TARS study said the FCAI’s criticism is “absolute rubbish”.
“We have studied coronial data. We've done the survey of 1,500-odd riders out in the real world that have experienced 1,400 crashes,” TARS’ Professor Raphael Grzebieta said.
The FCAI says authorities should focus more on safety aspects like helmet use, rather than quad bike design.